13 Best Montessori Shelves to Complete Your Kid’s Playspace

These Montessori toy and bookshelves will promote learning and play while also discouraging clutter—win win!
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Published March 20, 2023
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If you’re planning on setting up a Montessori-inspired space at home for your little ones to learn and play in, one of the first things you’ll need is a few great pieces of furniture, like Montessori shelves for your kiddo’s playthings. The Montessori philosophy embraces the idea of allowing kids to make their own choices in order to inspire independence and creative thinking. “Montessori shelves can inspire child-driven play and are set up for little ones to take ownership and accountability of their playthings,” says Amanda Vierheller, chief operating officer of Playgarden Online and cofounder of Playgarden Prep, a New York City-based Montessori preschool. Sounds appealing? We think so too! Read on to learn about the benefits of Montessori shelves, then shop our favorite picks for the best Montessory toy and bookshelves.

What Is a Montessori Shelf?

The Montessori approach uses shelves that are child-height, stable and made from wood or other natural materials, says Vierheller. This allows little ones to choose their own activities and supplies—and then put them away when they’re done—without the help of adults. “The shelves’ low and open style allows children to choose toys independently, which encourages autonomous play and helps build self-confidence,” she explains.

What are the benefits of a Montessori bookshelf?

A Montessori bookshelf is designed to encourage independence. These low, open shelves are front-facing, meaning the covers of the books are displayed outward rather than the book spines, so little ones can easily see and select their favorite reads. There are a number of benefits to this type of design, according to Vierheller:

  • Enhances cognitive development
  • Inspires an early interest in reading
  • Allows for free choice and independent thought, which helps build self-confidence and promote literary focus

What are the benefits of a Montessori toy shelf?

Montessori toy shelves are low and open for easy access. They also tend to showcase only a select number of toys at a time. This highly curated, rotating offering is meant to maximize your child’s engagement with their playthings without overwhelming them. “Designed to draw children’s attention to the carefully curated materials and toys, Montessori shelves often feature bins, baskets and trays to organize the toys on Montessori shelves, providing a place for everything and making it intuitive for children to see how to clean up after play,” Vierheller explains. A Montessori toy shelf helps:

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  • Promotes focus and concentration
  • Draws attention to toys curated to promote early learning
  • Allows for regular rotation of toys and materials
  • Encourages accountability when cleaning up after play
  • Inspires children’s desire to learn through play

Best Montessori Bookshelves to Shop

Ready to find a Montessori bookshelf that will serve as a beautiful way to display your child’s burgeoning library? These are the best Montessori shelves for books on the market today.

Overall best Montessori bookshelf

Child Universe Wooden Montessori Bookshelf
Child sitting at a white bookshelf
Image: Child Universe

This low-to-the-ground bookshelf is the perfect addition to any Montessori space. Featuring two shelves with bars that keep books from toppling off, this midsize Montessori shelf is the perfect way to encourage little ones to choose their own books. It’s also available in a variety of color choices to match your kiddo’s style and personality. Specs at a glance:

  • Holds approximately 8 to 12 books
  • Made with natural wood
  • Measures 16.5 x 16.3 inches (small); or 24.4 x 21.2 inches (big)
What We Love
  • Extra bar that holds the books in place helps reduces frustration for little ones
  • Easy to put together
Things To Consider
  • Both sizes offer rather limited storage space for books

Best budget-friendly Montessori bookshelf

Humble Crew 4-Tier Kids Book Rack with Deep Sleeves
White book shelf with natural wooden side panels
Image: Amazon

The main tenet of Montessori education is the ability for children to learn how to work independently. With easy-to-maneuver canvas shelves that allow little ones to choose which book they’d like to read, this Montessori bookshelf is one of our personal favorites—and with a price tag under $40, it’s our pick for the best budget-friendly Montessori bookshelf. White canvas and natural wood combine for a clean, simplistic look (or choose from a more colorful option!), while the material makes for a lightweight bookshelf that’s easy to move around. Specs at a glance:

  • Holds approximately 20 to 30 books
  • Measures 24 inches (H) x 11 inches (D) x 25 inches (W)
  • Made of engineered wood and canvas
What We Love
  • Four tiers can hold a lot of books or allow for books to be more spaced out
  • Available in several different shelf colors
Things To Consider
  • Some say smaller books and paperbacks don’t fit well on this bookshelf

Best Montessori bookshelf with hidden storage

RiverRidge Kids Bookrack

What’s the best way to keep your space neat and tidy? Storage options, of course! You may want to offer your little one a curated selection of books, but then you’ll need a place to stash the rest of the rotation. We love this attractive white Montessori bookshelf that includes three oversized storage cubbies at the bottom to hold any extra toys or supplies that will inevitably turn into clutter. Specs at a glance:

  • Holds approximately 30 to 50 books
  • Measures 36 inches (H) x 12 inches (D) x 35 inches (W)
  • Made of engineered, painted wood
What We Love
  • Ample space for books
  • Choose from different colored storage baskets to coordinate with your space
Things To Consider
  • At three feet tall, this Montessori bookshelf may be too high for the smaller set of learners

Best multi-tier Montessori bookshelf

BushAcres Sierra Large Montessori Bookshelf
Child standing beside wooden bookshelf
Image: Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy | $179.99

With five tiers of book storage, this jumbo-sized Montessori bookshelf is a great option if you want to display lots of books without having to change them out too often. Natural wood and sturdy construction round out the best Montessori features of this bookshelf, making it a no-brainer addition to your little one’s space. Specs at a glance:

  • Holds approximately 20 to 50 books
  • Measures 32 inches (H) x 14 inches (D) x 33 inches (W)
  • Made from natural birch plywood
What We Love
  • Super simple to assemble
  • Wood is untreated, so you can leave it as is or opt to stain, paint or seal it
Things To Consider
  • Some buyers say this shelf has a strong scent at first

Best Montessori bookshelf with casters

Guidecraft Mobile Book Display with Casters
Child standing at bookshelf
Image: Wayfair
Buying Options
Wayfair | $229.95

Looking for a Montessori bookshelf that can easily be moved from one place to another? This one has built-in wheels! Featuring two levels of shelving in the classic Montessori style, this bookshelf is made of baltic birch plywood and sits atop rotating casters for easy mobility. It also has a classic library feel to it that will further encourage your little one’s love of reading. Specs at a glance:

  • Measures 30 inches (H) x 16 inches (D) x 36 inches (W)
  • Made of solid birch and birch plywood
What We Love
  • Includes four casters so it can easily roll
  • Shelves include six metal frames for labeling, so your little one can practice keeping their books organized
Things To Consider
  • Wheels are not removable

Cutest Montessori bookshelf

FitWood of Scandinavia KUMPU Montessori Bookshelf
Rounded bookshelf in the shape of a rainbow set to the backdrop of a playroom
Image: Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy | $510.30

Looking to score the cutest Montessori bookshelf out there? Look no further than this sweet little multipurpose piece, in the shape of an arch. One side features three tiers of Montessori shelves while the other side functions as a desk with a seat for your little one to make the most of reading time. Specs at a glance:

  • Measures 43 inches (W) x 30 inches (H) x 29 inches (D)
  • Made of solid birch and birch plywood
What We Love
  • Available in birch or white
  • Can be used as a fort when learning time is finished
Things To Consider
  • Pricey

Best Montessori Toy Shelves to Shop

Got a growing collection of Montessori toys? Snag one of these minimalist toy shelves to keep them organized in a neat and tidy space.

Overall best Montessori toy shelf

Loveevery The Montessori Playshelf
Toy shelf in a play room
Image: Lovevery
Buying Options
Lovevery | $400

Checking all the boxes of Montessori-style furniture, this classic option from Lovevery is our pick for the overall best Montessori toy shelf. Two long, deep shelves offer plenty of space for items like supplies, toys and books, and the sturdy back ensures things don’t slip off the back, which can be frustrating for little ones. Natural wood and clean lines round out the features of this top-notch pick. Specs at a glance:

  • Measures 41 inches (L) x 21 inches (D) x 23 inches (H)
  • Made from 100 percent FSC-certified Baltic birch
What We Love
  • Includes two wooden trays and two storage bins
  • Hidden compartment in the back lets you store extra items discreetly
Things To Consider
  • Very heavy, weighing in at 90 pounds
  • Pricey

Best budget-friendly Montessori toy shelf

Austin yan Floating Bookshelves
Wall shelves with toys and books
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $32.99

Save money and floor space when you opt for this wall-mounted Montessori play shelf. It provides plenty of space for toys, books or supplies and is easy to mount at exactly your child’s height. It even includes a wooden piece that prevents things from falling off the shelf, while still allowing your little ones to see what’s on display. All this, for under $40. Talk about a bargain! Specs at a glance:

  • Measures 32 inches (W) x 4 inches (D), x 3.5 inches (h)
  • Made of pinewood
What We Love
  • Comes with two shelves
  • Simple to assemble and mount
  • Includes mounting materials
Things To Consider
  • Be aware of leaking sap while assembling these shelves; it’s a good idea to assemble with a blanket or towel beneath

Best Montessori toy shelf with hidden storage

Costzon Kids Toy Storage Cabinet
White toy shelf with hidden storage
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $135.99

The whole point of a Montessori toy shelf is to keep things neat and organized so little ones can easily help themselves to the items they need. But let’s face it—sometimes, there’s overflow! That’s why we’ve added this Montessori shelf with hidden storage to our list. This shelving system comes with three generously sized drawers that close fully to keep excess items out of the way, reducing visual clutter. Specs:

  • Made with composite wood
  • 40 inches (W) x 13 inches (D) x 25 inches (H)
  • Available in white
What We Love
  • Pull-out drawers are on wheels for a smoother experience when pulling them out or pushing them shut
  • Also available in white
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers indicate this Montessori shelf is difficult to assemble.

Best Montessori toy shelf with open back

Woodjoy Collection Montessori Mini Toy Shelf
Montessori shelf
Image: Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy | $209.98

If you like the look of a Montessori toy shelf with an open back, you’ll love this shelf from Etsy. Made of natural birch plywood for a durable piece of furniture, it includes three shelves for placing items or baskets. Choose from several different finish colors for a Montessori shelf that coordinates nicely with your space. Specs:

  • Made with birch plywood
  • 30 inches (H) x 13 inches (D) x 20 inches (W)
What We Love
  • Easy to assemble
  • Offers ample room for Montessori toy storage
  • Can be painted, stained or sealed
Things To Consider
  • Because the shelf has no back, items can potentially fall off the back and get trapped between the shelf and the wall

Cutest Montessori toy shelf

RumeKids House-Shaped Shelf
House-shaped toy shelf in a play room
Image: Etsy
Buying Options
Etsy | $376.65

Who said a toy shelf has to be boring? Totally not the case when you opt for this adorable dollhouse-shaped Montessori shelving system. The house features a unique combination of square-, rectangular- and triangular-shaped cut-outs to neatly display supplies and toys. And when you’re not in session, clear the shelves and use this piece as a cool place for your little ones’ dolls to play. Specs:

  • Handmade
  • 43 inches (H) x 14 inches (D) x 39 inches (W)
What We Love
  • Handmade with child-safe materials and paints
Things To Consider
  • May not provide as much storage as other shelving options
  • Expensive

Best Montessori corner shelf

RiverRidge Corner Cabinet
White corner toy shelf with brightly colored storage cubes
Image: Amazon

If you’re short on space, a corner shelf could be just the solution you’re looking for. This white Montessori corner shelf is the perfect way to display your little one’s work supplies, toys and even books. With a small footprint thanks to its snug corner fit, this shelf is both beautiful and functional. Specs at a glance:

  • Measures 37 inches (H) x 11 inches (D) x 32 inches (W)
  • Made of engineered wood
What We Love
  • Sturdy and quite large, providing plenty of storage space
Things To Consider
  • Assembly is difficult, buyers say

Best Montessori art shelf

YoungTime JSectional Cubby-Tray Storage with Clear Bins
Cubby shelf with clear storage bins
Image: Wayfair

You’ll have everything you need in one place with this large shelving system that’s designed with kids in mind. Keep your arts and craft supplies organized with these Montessori shelves that include 15 clear plastic bins and 14 horizontal paper slots for storing paper or laying art flat to dry. We also love that the edges and corners are rounded to prevent kids from getting hurt. Specs at a glance:

  • Measures 33 inches (H) x 15 inches (D) x 48 inches (W)
  • Made of wood
What We Love
  • Largest Montessori toy shelf on our list, providing plenty of storage
  • Edges and corners are rounded to prevent injuries
Things To Consider
  • Very heavy, at 111 pounds

About the experts:

Amanda Vierheller is the chief operating officer of Playgarden Online and cofounder of Playgarden Prep, one of New York City’s leading Montessori preschools since 2007. She has spent most of her life developing groundbreaking curriculum for the youngest children. She is an educator and specialist in all things early learning, with a passion for making sure that Playgarden’s curriculum is in line with the most up-to-date educational research.

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